13 Businesses You Can Start With A Van
August 16, 2019 at 2:44 PM
If you own a van, there's a whole range of jobs you can do to make money. This can either be as your main source of income, or just something that you do on the side in your spare time.
All of the van business ideas in this list can be done without needing any specific qualifications other than a driving licence. Here's 13 ways you can make money with a van:
1. Delivery Business
Vans offer a lot more space than cars which means you can either transport a higher volume of items, or you can carry bigger and heavier objects (e.g. white goods or furniture).
Focusing on the larger items that people won't be able to get in their car will be the easiest way to get business for your van. One tactic you could try is offering a 'same day delivery service' outside retail stores such as Currys, IKEA or DFS.
You don't necessarily have to beat the store delivery price - being able to deliver items as soon as they've been purchased should be enough to generate interest in your service.
2. Courier Service
The amount of money spent shopping online every year in the UK is in the billions with more and more packages needing to be delivered every day.
Although you can't directly compete with online giants like Amazon, you could build up partnerships with independent sellers that use eBay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and other similar services to make money.
Similarly, you could offer a 'last mile' delivery service to local businesses - often this is the most challenging and expensive part of the logistics journey. If you can prove yourself to be a reliable and professional courier, companies are likely to use your service again.
If you're in good physical shape and are happy to do a lot of heavy lifting and manual labour, using your van for a removals business is a viable option.
People are always moving house so there will never be a shortage of opportunities. However, what you have to consider is that you will need at least one other person to help you.
Alternatively, you can brand your business as a stereotypical 'man and van' operation where you offer your van and an extra set of hands to help a customer shift things.
4. Waste Haulage
If you're going to transport and dispose of waste as a service, you will need to register for a waste carriers licence which can be completed online using the government website.
The best way to make money from this van business idea is to target local businesses because they don't get free waste disposal - they have to pay for it as a business expense.
Try calling round businesses in your area to see how much they're paying for their waste disposal service and offer them a better quote. You can help them save money and earn a tidy profit yourself.
NOTE: You should never handle or transport hazardous materials or chemicals. If it isn't inert waste, don't touch it or commit to having it in your van.
In addition, you can offer a rubbish removal and recycling service to domestic customers. Instead of taking several trips to the dump in their car, some people would rather pay for someone else to take their unwanted items away for a small charge.
5. Collect & Sell Scrap Metal
Collecting and selling scrap metal can be a good little side business that you can do in your spare time. It largely relies on being opportunistic by finding skips or piles of rubbish outside people's homes.
The biggest advantages of collecting scrap metal is that most people are happy for you to take it off their hands for free which means 100% profit when you come to sell it. However, it's not always easy to find and some metals are worth more than others.
By the letter of the law, if you're going to be collecting and selling scrap metal, you should have a scrap metal dealer licence. You can apply for one through the Post Office.
6. Van Rental
If your van is sitting idle and you don't have the spare time to complete any additional jobs, you could rent it out for other people to use.
This is a risky business idea because you're trusting people to bring the van back and keep it in good condition. You might need to invest in a tracking device and some legal protection. In addition, any customers you manage to get will need to arrange their own insurance.
Alternatively, you can offer your services as a van and driver business. This works in a similar way to a traditional 'man and van' business, but instead of having to do any of the leg work, you're only being employed as a driver. Primarily, this type of service is used by people who don't have a driving licence.
7. Taxi / Transportation
Crew vans and double cab pick-up trucks offer five passenger seats with enough space to transport everyone in comfort. Before using your vehicle as a taxi you need to get a PSV (Public Service Vehicle) operators licence.
If you live near an airport, a van is the perfect vehicle to carry out an airport shuttle service. There's lots of room in the back for suitcases and additional luggage without compromising on passenger space.
Similarly, you could offer a service that takes people to their medical appointments. This would be particularly useful for elderly and disabled people that can't drive and don't have anyone else available to take them.
8. Towing Service
Thanks to their weight and size, vans make perfect towing vehicles. If you're comfortable towing a trailer or caravan you can provide a towing service to help people move boats or other large objects.
In addition, if there's a local caravan dealership, you could partner with them to offer a delivery service to their customers. All you need is tow bar and money for fuel which you can incorporate into the cost of the job.
9. Transport Event Materials
Promotional events require of a lot of marketing materials to be transported and set up. You could use your van to act like a 'roadie', moving the material to different locations, setting it up and dismantling it once the event has finished.
Once you know the set-up process, this becomes a very easy way to make money with your van because it's essentially a delivery job with only one drop-off.
10. Cleaning Business
While there are many different businesses you can start with a van, most of them require some level of skill (e.g. mobile hairdresser or painter/decorator). A cleaning business only needs minimal funds to get started and no previous experience.
Depending on the amount of time you have available, you can choose to have residential clients or you could target offices and retail spaces. Many companies will outsource their office cleaning to small agencies.
A van will provide plenty of space to store all your cleaning products. If you're planning for the business to be your main source of income, you could even consider specialising in a certain type of cleaning - for example, construction clean-up or carpet cleaning.
11. Mobile Coffee or Juice Bar
Buying fresh drinks on the go has become a major trend in the UK and something that you can take advantage of with your van. The two most popular beverages are coffee and juice.
You can either choose to convert your van into a self-contained service area, or you can invest in a cart or trailer that you can tow around using your van.
The most popular locations for pop-up coffee bars and juice bars tend to be shopping centres, markets and events; however, to be able to serve anything from your van, it's likely that you'll need to have a street trading licence. Although finding a pitch can be challenging, once you're settled, it can be easy to build a reputation and regular custom.
12. Mobile Valet
Typically a valet service is static and involves people bringing their vehicles to you. However, with a van, you'll have enough space to carry all the equipment and set up a mobile valet business.
The main advantage of this is that people can get their cars washed when it's convenient for them - they don't even need to take any time out of their day. Setting up your service in a busy industrial estate or retail park will provide you with a lot of footfall and opportunities.
13. Advertising Space
Your van is a blank canvas that you can sell to other businesses. Think about buses and cabs - they have designated areas which can be sold as advertising space for marketing campaigns.
If you drive around in your van a lot and don't have signwriting to advertise your own business, you could be earning money without doing any extra work.
Thinking About Starting A Business With A Van?
If you've been inspired by any of our ideas above but don't have a van yet, we've got a range of used vans that you could use to make some extra money.
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